More on Vulgarity in YA Fiction


I find it almost funny, if it were not tragic, to see the furor over my comments at that forum I mentioned regarding the use of the infamous "F-word" in young adult fiction. It seems like whenever I broach the subject it's as if all the minions of hell come out to attack me. Let them. In reading the numerous responses, it seems as if very few writers on that site agree with me, though I know there are many writers who do.

Most of the comments are in the form of, "you can't censor my writing," or "whatever I write is my business, where do you get off?" or "kids hear it all the time, so what's wrong with my writing it."

I even tried to make an association between using the "F-word" and the "N-word." I think the same people who use the "F-word" fairly liberally would never be caught dead using the "N-word." Why? I think the "F-word" is far worse, far more vulgar and immoral, than the "N-word."

I'm tempted to post my comments one more time. This time emphasizing that I'm not for censorship. It may very well be possible to write that word, and vulgar words like it. It may even be permissible, or in some perverted way, even encouraged. That isn't the question.

The question I would ask all writers, writer of YA material as well as writers of adult material is not can we, but should we?

Someone there asked what was my motivation. If I were to answer him/her I would tell them that my motive is to protect our children. As adults, shouldn't we be setting a better example to our children?

About Paul West

Paul West is a freelance writer and novelist. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Paul claims to be a "Prune Picker," though he now makes his home in Taylorsville, Utah.

You can follower him on Twitter: @PaulWWest

Published: Monday, October 02, 2006

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